Notice served on 55 Bodh Gaya monasteries for alleged violation of building rules
The Bodh Gaya nagar panchayat initiated the action after a petition was filed by the hoteliers’ Association and the mukhiya sangh in the Patna high court against “violation of building rules and conversion of monasteries into guest houses and hotels”.Updated: Jun 21, 2017, 13:05 IST
GAYA: The Bodh Gaya Nagar Panchayat has served notices on 55 foreign Buddhist monasteries for allegedly violating building laws and running commercial activity from there.
The circle office at Bodh Gaya, 111 kms south of Patna, has initiated a separate inquiry to find out violation of building norms by any monastery and structure that may have illegally come up on the land distributed among Dalits and homeless by the Bihar government in the 1980s.
The nagar panchayat, an urban civic body comparable to a municipality, and the circle office initiated the action after a petition was filed by the Bodh Gaya Hoteliers’ Association and the Bodh Gaya Mukhiya Sangh in the Patna high court against “violation of building rules and conversion of monasteries into guest houses and hotels”.
“Abuse of building law is rampant at Bodh Gaya where Buddhist foreign monasteries have turned into hotels or guest houses by keeping law-enforcing agencies in dark. These monasteries even go to the extent of concealing the identity of their guests, which again threatens the security of the revered Buddhist shrine, Mahabodhi Mahavihara, a Unesco world heritage site,” said Bodh Gaya Hoteliers’ Association general secretary Sudama Kumar.
The rules of Bodh Gaya Nagar Panchayat permits only 10 rooms at each monastery. “But many have more than 50 luxurious rooms that are let out to tourists on exorbitant rates,” he said.
This is not the first time that action had been initiated against “erring” monasteries. The state chief secretary, had in July last year, convened a high-level meeting that was attended by in-charges of 54 foreign monasteries, Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) office-bearers, representatives of hoteliers’ body and Bodh Gaya Nagar Panchayat members. The chief secretary had then directed the Magadh division commissioner and the Gaya district to inquire into alleged violation of building rules by monasteries. Besides, the chief secretary also directed all authorities concerned to find out if any monastery had come up on unauthorised land.
The hoteliers association general secretary had also provided a list of more than 20 monasteries, allegedly built on unauthorised land and being used as guest houses or resorts.
“My repeated efforts have failed to yield any result as neither the DM nor the chief secretary had kept their promise after the meeting,” Kumar said.
Gaya DM Kumar Ravi, who is also the chairman of BTMC, however, claimed that the district administration had been serious over the issue and holding regular meetings with all the stakeholders. “I have already ordered a survey of all hotels and monasteries. Any violation of law would be dealt with heavy hands,” he said.
When pointed out that lands distributed among Dalit families had been transferred to the monasteries, the DM said everything was in the ambit of the survey. “Let the findings come out,” he said.